My half hour taste of the BBC yesterday, via the Today programme, still hurts. The episode in question concerns the EU’s plan to increase its budget by 6.8% this year, David Cameron’s faux outrage, the lies told by an EU spokesman on the show and the dismal lack of balance provided by a biased BBC. I have discussed the matter with Christopher Booker and the whole business is a disgrace.
The EU wishes to increase its budget by 6.8% for 2013 to 150 billion Euro. Britain will be asked to pony up its share – we are a heavy net contributor. It goes without saying that MEPs voted this though with MEPS of all the three establishment British parties in favour. Pigs do not vote against the end of the gravy train. They vote for bigger gravy trains.
Call Me Dave says that he thinks that the EU budget should increase by no more than inflation (i.e. maintain its real term level). He promises to fight for this. Just like he promised us a vote on the Lisbon Treaty. If you trust him to keep his word you are so naive that you probably still think that Jimmy Savile was a tireless worker for good causes.
If Cameron had real backbone and was interested in cutting Britain’s deficit in order to avoid our eventual bankruptcy he would be demanding that the EU actually cut its real term spending levels. Does he not think that an organisation now employing 33,000 people can find room for cuts? Does he really think that a body which is now the largest provider of foreign aid in the world can cut back on its cash for despots/bloody Hamas murderers, etc programme? Does he really not think that there is not vast fraud in CAP/regional aid programmes that could be canned? Indeed why does he support the Common Agricultural Policy at all? But asking Cameron to show backbone is like expecting the man to keep a promise…it is the stuff of dreamland. Margaret Thatcher would not have tolerated this state of affairs but Call Me Dave is no Maggie.
To show balance for Cameron’s 60 seconds of spinelessness, John Humphreys then interviewed a British spokesman for the EU President Herman Van wotsit for what seemed like an eternity. My cats could have been more probing with their questions. The EU liar was allowed to tell obvious untruths unchallenged. For example he told Humphreys that “Spending on the CAP had fallen. It has gone down from 71% of the budget in 1984 (an appropriate year if we are discussing the Evil Empire) to a predicted 39% in 2013. Hmmm
Phoning the EU press office I am offered the chance to take a customer satisfaction survey but decline. You can put me down as a “totally unsatisfied” on all counts if you wish. But an answer to the question “what was the total EU budget in 1984?” there is none. That information is not available to us. Okay let’s start with data I can find. In 2000 just under 50% of the EU budget of 90 billion Euro went on CAP. That would be around 40 billion Euro then. In 2013 it will by 39% of 150 billion Euro so that would be c60 billion Euro. The spokesman for Herman van Wotsit tells you that the percentage spend on CAP is down but the truth is that we are spending more than ever on this programme.
What has simply happened is that the EU has massively increased its spending on other things. Notably since 2000 it has created its foreign ministry which now has a large budget, it has hired more pen pushers, it has doled out more for “R&D Grants” and has massively increased regional aid. And so while CAP spending increases year on year, in percentage terms it appears to fall. Did Humphreys pick up on how the spokesman was misleading us? Of course not.
CAP is, as it happens, just a massive transfer of wealth from countries like the UK to inefficient producers of foodstuffs, France is the biggest net winner by far, followed by the PIIGS. Europe produces more food than it needs. All that CAP achieves is to crowd out cheap producers of food in Africa (so creating more poverty in Africa which requires more foreign aid from er…the EU) and to subsidise lifestyle careers in France and Southern Europe. Why subsidise French farmers with 4 cows? Why not subsidise coal mines with no coal left, banksters with no capital, typewriter manufacturers with no customers, the Guardian newspaper with no readers? Where do you stop and start?
The State (or an Evil Empire) should have no role in picking which uneconomic sector it subsidises with cash taken from productive sectors. That such a policy, in this case, causes more misery in Africa and is ridden with fraud is just a bonus. The EU should scrap CAP tomorrow.
Regional aid? Heck if the UK wants to send a cheque to support projects in Poland or Greece it could do so directly. Given we are almost bust I think we might decline that opportunity. And regional aid has never worked as a policy anywhere (even within Britain). Creating non jobs is not the role of Government. Creating the environment in which real jobs can appear (i.e. low tax, low regulation) should be but rarely is in this continent. But to be forced to send cheques to an inefficient and corrupt bureaucracy in Brussels to allocate is just non-sensical.
The EU could easily slash its spending by 75%. That should be a fair target. If profligate Governments wish to spend their taxpayers cash off to Greece, France or Slovakia to be squandered on corruption, the creation of non jobs or on supporting lifestyle choices that should be a call for individual profligate Governments.
If the BBC had wished to show balance on the matter of the EU budget it might have given less airtime to the spokesman for the Evil Empire and allowed someone on to articulate this third view – that the EU budget should be slashed. The chances of the biased BBC showing such balance? Nil.